Student debt has become such a problem that it has even surpassed credit card debt in terms of both money owed and delinquency rates. What is truly staggering about this is that the United States citizens’ credit card debt of $697 billion comes from 80% of the population who own credit cards, compared to only 15% who have student loans.
The student debt crisis can largely be traced to the almost disgusting increase of college tuition over the last 30 years. Since 1982, the cost of a 4-year college tuition has risen by 400%, which really causes problems when taken into account that the Median Household Income over this time has only risen by 150%. Many prospective college students of today are also under-informed or misinformed when they are making their decision on where to go to school as well as how to fund it. Most students go into college with the expectation that they will be able to get a job relevant to their degree right out of college, and thus will not need to worry about their expensive student loans. This has not been the case, and as the economy continues to twist and turn, more and more recent college graduates are finding themselves in a bind. Student default rates rose from 11.6% to 15% in the last fiscal year as over 9% of recent college graduates find themselves unemployed.
Fortunately there are a few things that can help with the payment of loans, such as loan consolidation or forgiveness. If you know someone who is saddled with student debt and unsure of their options, http://www.finaid.org/loans/forgiveness.phtml and http://www.finaid.org/ are loaded with information on student loans as well as ideas on how to lower your debt.